About Us
FAQ
Global Law Experts Logo
Global Law Experts Logo

Find a Global Law Expert

Specialism
Country
Practice Area

Awards

Since 2010, the Global Law Experts annual awards have been celebrating excellence, innovation and performance across the legal communities from around the world.

Duty, Integrity & Justice

posted 2 years ago

A previous medico-legal case report dealt with the issue of ethics in medico-legal practice and warned about solicitors asking their “medical expert” to add to reports and/or revise their prognosis.

In October 2018, both the “Law Society Gazette” and the “Insurance Times” reported a solicitor being given a custodial sentence of 15 months for asking a medical expert to alter his evidence and opinion, and in March 2019, the doctor involved was given a custodial sentence of nine months. The Court of Appeal indicated that “Critical to the operation of our system of justice is the trust that courts have to place in solicitors and expert witnesses. Those who make false claims should expect to go to prison. Solicitors and expert witnesses who act dishonestly in the evidence they give to the court, whether in support of such claims or otherwise, must expect a similar outcome”.

Unfortunately, the situation still persists where some solicitors ask their medical expert to consider “new evidence” from the plaintiff, thereby inviting the expert to change their report and their prognosis. If such “new evidence” is to be entertained at any time, it should be placed in a second document indicating that the plaintiff or the solicitor has altered the evidence on the basis of having read the expert’s report and highlighting the “new evidence” and the reasoning why this evidence was not presented to the expert in the first place. Both reports should then be transmitted to the other side.

Without that degree of transparency, the whole legal process is thrown into question. The Court of Appeal is clear that the medical expert and lawyer are to be held to a higher standard than the litigants. It is very important to note that the Court of Appeal also struck down the suggestion that being reckless is not as significant as outright dishonesty. Doctors must understand their duty is to the court, and the court only, and solicitors cannot hide behind the premise that they are “only doing their best for their client”. Integrity is paramount, and any breach has significant consequences for those involved, including being struck out of their profession.

This present case is probably most significant in terms of medico-legal practice since expert immunity was removed following the Kaney judgement in 2011.

MDU figures for 2020 show that fewer than one in six actions in medical negligence actually succeed, with the vast majority failing on the grounds of causation. It must be remembered that subsequence is not the same as consequence.

Initial screening is, therefore, essential to manage client expectations at an early stage. This avoids unnecessary effort and costs for all concerned. Too many cases are taken to Court with no chance of success. This is stressful for both the client and their legal adviser, and indeed for the medical personnel involved.

For fast and effective screening of all potential medical negligence cases, contact Peyton Medico Legal Services now on +44 (0)28 87724177 or email [email protected]

Author

Find the right Legal Expert for your business

The premier guide to leading legal professionals throughout the world

Specialism
Country
Practice Area
LAWYERS RECOGNIZED
0
EVALUATIONS OF LAWYERS BY THEIR PEERS
0 m+
PRACTICE AREAS
0
COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD
0

Join

who are already getting the benefits
0

Sign up for the latest legal briefings and news within Global Law Experts’ community, as well as a whole host of features, editorial and conference updates direct to your email inbox.

Naturally you can unsubscribe at any time.

Newsletter Sign Up

About Us

Global Law Experts is dedicated to providing exceptional legal services to clients around the world. With a vast network of highly skilled and experienced lawyers, we are committed to delivering innovative and tailored solutions to meet the diverse needs of our clients in various jurisdictions.

Contact Us

Stay Informed

Join Mailing List

GLE